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9 April 2014

Peregrine’s Global 1 reconfigurable RF front-end debuted in Greater China market

At the EDI CON 2014 Electronic Design Innovations Conference in Beijing (8-10 April), Peregrine Semiconductor Corp of San Diego, CA, USA, a fabless provider of radio-frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) based on silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) and silicon-on-insulator (SOI), has announced the Greater China debut of UltraCMOS Global 1 (first demonstrated in February at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona), which is claimed to be the first reconfigurable RF front-end (RFFE) system.

By integrating all the components of the RFFE on a single chip, UltraCMOS Global 1 delivers one platform design – a single, global stock-keeping unit (SKU) – that operates in all regions worldwide. The system includes what is claimed to be the first LTE CMOS power amplifier (PA) with the same raw performance as gallium arsenide (GaAs) technology. The UltraCMOS Global 1 offers a high-band PA path that supports China’s recently licensed TDD-LTE technology networks.

Reconfigurable system

The rapidly growing LTE device market has put unprecedented demands on the performance of the RFFE, says Peregrine. To support more than 40 frequency bands and a more than 5000-fold increase in the number of possible operating states, a reconfigurable and tunable RFFE is now an industry requirement, it adds. The UltraCMOS Global 1 provides digitally controlled adaptation across modes and bands, high isolation to solve interoperability issues, and scalability to support higher band counts with low-loss switching and tunability. This level of reconfigurability is available exclusively on Global 1’s UltraCMOS 10 technology platform, an advanced CMOS process that uses RF SOI substrates and delivers a 50% performance improvement over comparable solutions, the firm claims.

On a single chip, Global 1 integrates Peregrine’s RF switches and tuners with a CMOS PA. The UltraCMOS Global 1 RFFE system includes: a 3-path multimode, multiband (MMMB) PA, post-PA switch, antenna switch and antenna tuner; support for envelope tracking; and a common RFFE MIPI interface.

Peregrine claims that UltraCMOS Global 1 benefits the entire wireless ecosystem. Platform providers and OEMs can accelerate their time to market by creating a single platform design for global markets. Consumers can enjoy longer battery life, better reception, faster data rates and wider roaming range. Finally, wireless operators can reduce capital investments in their network with improved RFFE performance, resulting in better coverage and reductions in dropped calls.

The UltraCMOS Global 1 RFFE system will complete platform integration in 2014 and will be in volume production in late 2015.

Performance advantages

Using a WCDMA (voice) waveform at an ACLR (adjacent channel leakage ratio) of -38dBc, the performance of the UltraCMOS Global 1 PA approaches 50% PAE (power-added efficiency). This is on par with the leading GaAs PAs and exceeds the performance of other CMOS PAs by 10 percentage points (a 33% efficiency increase), it is reckoned. Further, the Global 1 PA maintains GaAs-equivalent PAE for LTE waveforms with varying resource-block allocations. This level of performance is reached without enhancements from envelope tracking (ET) or digital pre-distortion, which is often used when benchmarking CMOS PAs with GaAs PAs.

“Peregrine Semiconductor’s UltraCMOS Global 1 PA is a market disrupter that could hasten a transition of the PA front-end market from GaAs-based to CMOS,” comments Christopher Taylor, director of RF and Wireless Components at market research firm Strategy Analytics. “In a demonstration at Mobile World Congress 2014, Peregrine’s UltraCMOS Global 1 PA apparently matched the performance of a leading-edge GaAs PA at all power levels and, on top of this, Peregrine’s PA can offer more flexibility through the integration capabilities of CMOS,” he adds.

Supports for TDD-LTE networks

China’s recently licensed TDD-LTE networks have increased demand for bands in the 2.3-2.7GHz frequency range. The UltraCMOS Global 1 PA offers a high-band PA path that supports this frequency range.

“Peregrine is committed to the Greater China market,” states CEO Jim Cable. “To better serve our customers, we recently expanded our China office to include new lab facilities and additional technical resources,” he adds. “At EDI CON, we introduce UltraCMOS Global 1 as a RFFE solution for TDD-LTE network demands.”

See related items:

Peregrine demos UltraCMOS Global 1 PA at Mobile World Congress

Peregrine challenging GaAs PA market with UltraCMOS Global 1

Peregrine introduces UltraCMOS 10 technology to advance RF design with SOI

Tags: Peregrine CMOS SOI

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